Opponents of D.C. school closures said Thursday night that they plan to file a lawsuit against the city before the end of the month.
Speaking at an anti-school-closure rally at Temple of Praise in Southeast Washington, attorney Johnny Barnes declined to say whether he plans to file the lawsuit in local or federal court.
“We’re going to surprise them when we file the week of [March] 25th,” he said. “This legal team will fight, and we think we’ve got a compelling case to make.”
Barnes and the community group Empower D.C. have joined forces to fight Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s plan to close 15 city schools. It’s a civil rights battle, they argue: The closures are clustered in low-income neighborhoods east of Rock Creek Park and the Anacostia River, and disproportionately affect African American children, poor children and students with disabilities.
“We’re going to go to court, and we’re going to let them know that our children matter just as much as theirs do,” said Julianne Robertson King, a member of Barnes’s legal team.